Time for a new Definition of Rape in Nigeria

Emmanuel OC Obidimma, Q C Umeobika,Esq


Rape is a very serious sexual assault both under Nigerian law and other jurisdictions. The reason is that the issue of sexual intercourse is strictly a personal thing and should be done on the volition of the individual that wish to indulge in it. In other words, consent is paramount in sexual intercourse. Thus, when carnal knowledge is undertaken without a person’s consent, it amounts to a crime. The offence of rape is heinous because apart from constituting an invasion of the most intimate privacy of the victim, it usually has devastating effects on victims and their families respectively. In Nigeria, the Criminal and Penal Codes have made provisions for what constitutes rape. Under these laws for example, a woman cannot be guilty of rape. However, in light of the wide spectrum of the conception some jurisdictions, it would appear that the scope of rape under the Nigerian Jurisprudence is not comprehensive enough to include every act that constitutes rape in current globe conception. This article discusses the offence of rape as presently conceived under Nigerian law and advocates for a reform to make the concept be in consonance with the current global trend.

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